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Nightmare Alley is co-writer/director Guillermo del Toro’s first movie since The Shape of Water. That 2017 film took home Academy Awards for both Best Picture and Best Director. So needless to say, expectations are high for del Toro’s latest. Thankfully, the filmmaker came to play with a stacked cast led by Bradley Cooper and Cate Blanchett. But rumor has it the movie nearly reunited Cooper with one of two famous co-stars from earlier movies. Is it true?

Bradley Cooper attends "Nightmare Alley" world premiere
Bradley Cooper attends “Nightmare Alley” world premiere | Dia Dipasupil/WireImage

‘Nightmare Alley’ stars Bradley Cooper, Cate Blanchett, and Toni Collette

In Nightmare Alley, Cooper plays Stan Carlisle, an ambitious carny who crosses paths with psychiatrist Dr. Lilith Ritter, played by Blanchett. The two actors are at the top of their game. Both have received years of acclaim from critics and audiences. Blanchett herself is a two-time Academy Award winner, and Cooper’s directorial debut — 2018’s A Star Is Born — saw him rise from an Oscar-nominated star to a full-on awards season favorite.

However, once Cooper stepped in to replace Leonardo DiCaprio in Nightmare Alley, rumors began circulating that Jennifer Lawrence and Lady Gaga were competing for the role which eventually went to Blanchett. Lawrence, of course, has been in several movies with Cooper, most notably Silver Linings Playbook. And Lady Gaga steamed up the screen with the actor in A Star Is Born. But was either star ever up for the role of Dr. Ritter?

Were two former Bradley Cooper leading ladies battling it out for the role?

According to Gossip Cop, Lawrence and Lady Gaga were never in contention for the role at all. The timing of the supposed race for Nightmare Alley‘s female lead simply doesn’t mesh with the production schedule, nor the busy calendars of both stars. Soon thereafter, reports confirmed Blanchett had joined the film.

It’s easy to see why some media outlets might jump at the idea to speculate that Lawrence and/or Lady Gaga was eager to reunite with Cooper for Nightmare Alley. After all, the latter was even rumored to be romantically linked to the actor after they performed “Shallow” at the 2019 Oscars. Perhaps Cooper can team up with his former leading ladies in subsequent movies.


Director Guillermo del Toro Reveals Upcoming Film ’Nightmare Alley’ Isn’t Actually a Horror Movie

All 3 actors star in major awards contenders in 2021

In the meantime, all three actors are finding themselves back in the awards conversation. Cooper stars in not only the much-buzzed-about Nightmare Alley but also plays a supporting role in Licorice Pizza, the latest from writer-director Paul Thomas Anderson.

Lawrence has already landed a Golden Globe nomination for her role in Adam McKay’s satire Don’t Look Up, in which she stars with DiCaprio. As for Lady Gaga, she earned a Golden Globe nod for her work as Patrizia Reggiani in director Ridley Scott’s House of Gucci.